St. Bernard Parish growing it's economy and population

Growth in St. Bernard

ST. BERNARD PARISH, LA (WVUE) - "We live next to the most exciting city in the world, and good things are happening," said St. Bernard Parish President Guy McInnis.

All throughout the parish, construction is underway. Brand new businesses are coming up from Chalmette to Meraux.

"We have Sonic. Off track betting is going to be coming in Meraux. We have a bowling alley coming and a Taco Bell which we lost after the storm," McInnis said.

He points to a brand new campaign, they're calling "Sold on St. Bernard." The driving force behind the campaign is to create a quality of life that will make the parish attractive to prospective and current residents.

"For the most part, we wanted to let our residents know that we're reaching out to the region to come see St. Bernard as a destination to come raise their family, and it's catching on," McInnis said.

"The real estate market is phenomenal right now. It's actually booming," said agent Heather Atwood-Maher.

Atwood-Maher said home sales are way up, and the price per square foot is also higher than St. Bernard ever experienced.

"They range in Arabi typically about $150. We're seeing $180 at this point from the top of the line construction, which is great," she said.

With the end of the Road Home Program, the state turned over hundreds of vacant lots to the parish. The parish then worked with builders committed to buying lots at a discount, and building on them within 30 days.

"Typically, by the time they're finished they have contracts on them or a pending sale. It's been great for the developers," Atwood-Maher said.

Parish leaders say their seeing a lot of grandparents who want to move to St. Bernard.

"Our average age in St. Bernard is about 35 years old, and they're having children and their parents want to be a part of that and come live in St. Bernard," McInnis said.

After suffering a crippling loss of population nearly 12 years ago after Katrina, McInnis said the parish made a comeback and continues to grow.

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